Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi has warned western powers that Libya could spiral out of control if they try to intervene militarily in the conflict-wracked North African state.
Mr El Sisi said the West and its allies should instead concentrate on strengthening the army of Libya’s internationally recognised government and let it do the job of stabilising the country.
The army is commanded by Khalifa Haftar, an officially retired general who spent 20 years in exile in the United States and has been described as a potential “Libyan Sisi” because of his fierce opposition to extremist groups.
“If we provide arms and support to the national Libyan army it can do the job better than anyone else, better than any outside intervention which would risk dragging us into a situation that risks getting out of hand and triggering uncontrollable developments,” Mr El Sisi told Italy’s La Repubblica in an interview published on Thursday.
Western powers have become increasingly concerned about the rise of ISIL in Libya, which has taken advantage of the chaos of a civil war between two rival governments to seize pockets of territory. The Pentagon estimates that the extremist group has between 5,000 and 6,000 fighters in the country, many from abroad.